Covering cakes with sugar paste, also known as fondant, and creating intricate sugar flowers is a popular technique in cake decoration. It’s often used to achieve a smooth, polished finish on cakes and to create stunning, realistic or artistic designs. Here’s a general overview of the process:
Covering the Cake with Sugar Paste (Fondant):
- Prepare the Cake: Bake and cool your cake layers. Trim and level the tops to create an even surface.
- Crumb Coat: Apply a thin layer of buttercream frosting (crumb coat) to the cake. This helps seal in crumbs and provide a smooth surface for the fondant to adhere to.
- Roll Out Fondant: Dust a clean surface with powdered sugar or cornstarch to prevent sticking. Roll out your fondant to a size that can easily cover the entire cake, with some excess for draping.
- Cover the Cake: Gently lift the rolled fondant using a rolling pin and drape it over the cake. Starting from the top, gently press and smooth the fondant over the cake’s surface, working your way down to the sides.
- Smooth the Fondant: Use a fondant smoother to eliminate wrinkles and air bubbles. Start at the top and work your way down, smoothing the fondant against the cake’s surface.
- Trim Excess Fondant: Use a sharp knife or fondant trimmer to trim off the excess fondant at the base of the cake.
Creating Sugar Flowers:
- Materials: You’ll need gum paste or a fondant and gum paste mix, as gum paste dries harder and holds its shape well. You’ll also need food coloring in various colors, floral wire, floral tape, and a set of shaping tools.
- Color the Gum Paste: Divide your gum paste into portions and color them as needed using gel food coloring. Remember that colors can deepen as the gum paste dries, so start with lighter shades.
- Create Petals: Roll out the colored gum paste thinly. Use petal cutters to cut out shapes for your flowers. You can create multiple sizes and shapes for a realistic look.
- Shape the Petals: Use shaping tools to thin and shape the edges of the petals. This adds dimension and realism to your flowers.
- Assemble the Flowers: Use a small ball of gum paste or fondant to create the center of the flower. Attach petals around the center using edible glue or water. Build up layers of petals, allowing each layer to dry slightly before adding the next.
- Drying: Insert a floral wire into the base of the flower and allow it to dry. You can hang the wired flowers upside down or use foam to hold them upright as they dry. Drying times vary based on the size and complexity of the flowers.
- Finishing Touches: Once the flowers are completely dry, you can add additional details using edible dust or petal dust to create shading and depth.
Remember that working with fondant and gum paste requires practice and patience. It’s a skill that improves over time, so don’t be discouraged if your first attempts aren’t perfect. There are also numerous tutorials and online resources available to help you refine your techniques and create stunning cakes with beautiful sugar flowers.